Sunday, June 29, 2014

Creative Tension

I am just unloading the kiln . Wow. Magic. Here I am at the very last shelf. This is the second and most important firing. The high temperature  melts the glaze, and voila,  the finished product! The turquoise color is just what I wanted. No obvious cracks or runs. It is a good firing. 
I never quite know how things are going to turn out. Did I mix the glaze to the proper consistency? Are there any weak spots that are going to crack? Is the atmosphere in the kiln going to give me that certain glow in the color I am aiming for? Will the kiln gods smile down on me that day?
You would think after all these years I could be sure of the outcome. However, there are so many variables in high fire ceramics. It is never a sure thing, until  the shelves are emptied. Two months of  my hard work, and I do not know the outcome until the last unveiling. 
An artist friend often speaks about the tension involved in the creative process. That tightness in your stomach as you attempt to reach whatever mountain top of creativity you are climbing. The uncertainty of outcomes, as you spend so many hours working. 
It is just that part of what we go through, striving to do our very best. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Using my Handmade Dishes

  I have written about my handmade mugs and bowls. Did you know I also make plates here in my Sedona studio? They can be large dinner size, depending on the client's needs. Or...I like to throw quite small ones,with room  enough for one egg, bread, or pie. Put them all together and they make a dinner set.
Here is a picture of dinner at my friend's house where he is using my ceramic dishes.The salad bowl is already in the sink, but I liked the fact that there was food on his plates, and water in the mug. These are ceramics that are used on an everyday basis.
This is a unique color scheme for this particular set of dishes. I like putting food on a light background. However, the turquoise glaze was the desired theme. So I made a lip on the plates, then used a clear white glaze in the center, which sets off the color on the edge. This is how I make my mugs now. Light to see what you are eating or drinking, with the darker color on the outside or edge.
The clay I use is a white porcelain,which shrinks at least 15%. That has to be considered when creating. Truthfully, it still surprises me when I open the kiln and think," What happened to those Huge plates I threw on the wheel? "I can guarantee that each piece I make will be totally unique, but a set will all be in the same creative family.
There is one other statement I always tell  people."Your food will taste better on my handmade ceramic dishes".This I know to be true.

Friday, June 13, 2014

!0,000 Blog Readers

Over 10,000 people have read my blog. Wow. That has been a personal goal of mine for a long while. It slipped in quietly, almost unobtrusively. Here I am sitting here in front of my computer, looking up my "audience", as they call it on blogspot. I am amazed at how worldwide this form of communication really is. People from all over the world, countries I can only dream about, are reading my words. I wonder who they are. Are they curious about me as well? Please,I would welcome your comments on what led you to finding my blog.
I think  my consistency has been a large help.I keep on writing, just about every week. This is often inspired by a photo, or excitement about what I have recently created. Sometimes I just want to share something out of the ordinary that happened in my life. But it isn't always easy to be creative on schedule.
Then I start to write, and rewrite. Often it is the technical  that stumps me more than the inventive side. Why does the print size or color change in the middle of the column? How can I fix it, or must I start over? Whatever it takes. So, thank you, every one who ever read my words, and all of you out there in this beautiful and creative world we live in.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Art of the Opening

Here I am at my opening night as the June featured artist here in Sedona. It is the at the Andrea Smith Gallery in Tlaquepaque where I sell my ceramic masks. 
There is an art to these openings, and also a lot of behind the scenes work. 
First comes creating the work by the artist. I always like to make new items for a show. The masks at the top with the horsehair are my latest creations. I am condensing this into a few lines. Translation, months of hard work!
Then the gallery has the job of displaying your work in a inviting presentation. Ana did a great job. They have refreshments for the evening , because gallery going is hard work!
Not to be left out is the importance of the publicity. I worked online with the gallery's publicist, until we got a flyer that was representative of my work. Dawn was a real pleasure to work with and she listened to my  input.That matters to the artist. Next is getting the information into the papers and online. 
 I once had a newspaper man tell me that articles are used just because they fill a space requirement on the page. A bit of the luck there. Anyway, my name made the Gallery openings, and they spelled it right.
This is just a bit of all that goes into the art  of the opening. 
Finally, here I am all smiles and ready to meet and answer any questions about my work to the visitors .